Mitchell’s Journey starts a new road
Mitchell Jones, a 10-year-old Herriman resident’s story of faith, love and courage through his battle with a fatal disease has touched many hearts in his community and around the world.
Herriman’s city council has proclaimed April 29 as Mitchell Jones Day. It would have been Mitchell’s 11th birthday. Mitchell recently lost his battle with the disease and passed away March 2.
Mitchell’s story became known worldwide thanks to his father.
Chris Jones’s Facebook page “Mitchell’s Journey—a touching journey of a young boy whose broken heart will touch yours,” was originally created to keep friends and family updated on Mitchell’s battle with a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The following grew to nearly 85,000 people worldwide. And it is still growing.
Emotions were high after the proclamation was read that evening.
“What Mitchell’s Journey has taught me, is it’s about time -- time and family,” Councilmember Mike Day said. He, Mayor Josh Mills and the other council members had been following the Facebook page.
Other members of the council were asked if they would like to comment.
“I can’t,” Mills inaudibly mouthed, overcome with emotion.
Mitchell’s followers have been friends, family, families who have children fighting DMD and friends of these followers who have been touched by Chris’s description of love for his family.
His posts have often been updates, memories or poetry.
“Chris has a talent of opening his heart in a very vulnerable and honest way that compels me to care deeply about his family who I don’t even know,” Facebook follower Esther Pierce said.
Duchenne is one of nine different types of Muscular Dystrophy. It is a genetic disease most often found in male children starting at about age 3 and is caused by the lack of a certain protein called dystrophin, needed to keep muscle cells intact.
The disease starts by attacking the voluntary muscles: shoulders, hips, legs. By the early teens, it begins to weaken the involuntary muscles: the heart and lungs. The disease is fatal by the late teens to early 20s.
In Mitchell’s case, the progression to his heart was more rapid. On March 2, he passed away from acute heart failure, due to DMD.
Although a part of Mitchell’s journey is complete, his family is determined to continue his journey by joining with The Parent Project MD, the largest nonprofit organization in the United States which focuses entirely on Duchenne, and starting a foundation titled Mitchell’s Journey. They hope to better organize efforts to raise awareness of Muscular Dystrophy and to be a source of support to other families with similar struggles.
“Mitchell’s Journey has put in motion conversations in the medical community [on a national level] that we’re told will change the landscape of cardiac care for children who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is no small thing. And we are grateful that Mitchell’s Journey has become a catalyst for progress,” Chris Jones told the city council after the proclamation was read.
On April 27 (two days prior to Mitchell Jones Day) the new foundation will hold its first fundraiser. Details for the event are still in planning stages but will be released to the media and through Facebook soon.
“Mitchell’s Journey as documented on Facebook has had a unique impact across the globe. His life and story has touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people of all ages, religions, and cultures. His legacy of innocence, love and faith will leave a ripple effect of softened hearts and inspiring faith in God that may never be truly understood in this life. It would seem that he is the personification of ‘by small and simple things are great things brought to pass,’ (Alma 37:6).”
Mitchell is survived by his father Chris, mother Natalie, sister Laura-Ashley and brothers Ethan and Wyatt.